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Unable to relax

Discussion in 'General Symptoms' started by andre79, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. andre79

    andre79 Senior Member

    This symptom is one of the worse i have. Since i became sick, two and a half years ago, i am not able to relax, and it causes me insomnia.

    One doctor that i saw, a neurooftamologist told i was in permanent fight or flight state and my dilated pupils were for too high adrenaline. He told me i should take antidepressants (which i did until several days ago). It helped me to some degree, but still i feel i cannot reach the total relaxation state in any situation.

    Any thoughts? Any treatment for that? I wish i could do yoga, but at the moment i can't. I don't know how to do meditation.
    justy likes this.
  2. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

    Southern California
    It sounds like your cortisol levels may be high. This can cause the symptoms you have. Your doctors should do an adrenal stress index test - it's a saliva test which uses 4 samples taken throughout the day/evening, measuring cortisol levels. Mine were high at night many years ago, which caused severe insomnia. I was told to take Seriphos (phosphorylated serine - non-prescription) to normalize my cortisol levels. It worked extremely well. I found it was best to take in the morning, even though my levels were high at night.

    Meditation is great too. I've been doing that for a long time. There's a ton of info about mediation on-line - here's a link for beginners: http://life.gaiam.com/article/meditation-101-techniques-benefits-beginner-s-how - meditation is actually very simple to do. The important thing is that it's best when done every day. You won't notice anything first - for me it took a couple of weeks of daily practice before I was able to quiet my mind for even a little while. And it's also important to let go of results, to accept that your mind will keep wandering, and don't get upset, just keep going back. It's like exercise. If you do sit-ups one day, you won't notice anything different in your body (except being sore). You need to do them daily for several weeks before you will notice a difference.

    I can't tolerate anti-depressants. I don't know if they do anything for cortisol levels anyways. But Seriphos was extremely effective in lowering high cortisol.
    justy and andre79 like this.
  3. Martial

    Martial Senior Member

    Ventura, CA
    Well chronic illness will activate the sympathetic nervous system far too often, usually because your run down and the nervous system becomes more sensitized.

    Before getting sick though I had severe anxiety for years, on all kinds of meds too. The only thing that cured it was learning a right attitude in dealing with the feelings, and some tools I used for the panic attacks called 21 countdown. It was a book called at last a life by Paul David that helped the most.

    Magnesium is also very useful, there are some really great herbs like ashwaganda and rhodiala that work great too. Also looking into seeing if you are dealing with pyroluria. This needs to be treated with high dose b 6 and zinc, but important to get a test first and follow up blood work with treatment under a doctor to titer doses. It's a simple urine test to find out.
    merylg, justy and andre79 like this.
  4. Adele


    I have struggled with the same thing, but have been helped by meditation, taking magnesium and seeing a cranial osteopath. When it comes to meditation I can really recommend the body scan. You find a good exercise here with one of the "fathers of mindfulness in western culture", Jon Kabat-Zinn :
    andre79 and justy like this.
  5. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

    @andre79 - N-acetylCysteine helps my brain relax enough to sleep. I take Jarrow's NAC Sustain about an hour before bed, and usually once or twice during the day as well.
    merylg, andre79 and Kina like this.
  6. justy

    justy Donate Advocate Demonstrate

    I also find it incredibly hard to relax. But my cortisol levels are mainly low. I now have the addition of breathing problems for the past 5 months so that makes me feel uptight all the time too.
  7. dan062

    dan062 Senior Member

    Meditation is very easy -- and accessible even for someone with CFS/ME.

    I found yoga too physically difficult the few times I tried it. I would hold a pose and then an arm or a leg would start trembling (which was also a little embarrassing as this was in a studio).

    The quick 'how to': buy a meditation cushion (huge help!); then watch and follow some guided meditation videos on YouTube.

    Mechanically speaking: you'll lower cortisol levels but most importantly stimulate the vagus nerve. Vagal stimulation is a treatment modality that they're currently looking to extend beyond epilepsy to autoimmune diseases.

    On days I take meditation really seriously (like a full hour of high quality sitting) my dysautonomia symptoms are vastly improved. I attribute this to its effect on the vagus nerve.
    andre79 likes this.
  8. Bob


    England (south coast)
    I think that beta-blockers can help with symptoms of an over-active metabolism or adrenal over-stimulation.

    I use herbal supplements for my overstimulation...

    Passiflora is short-lasting, and is good for sleep - Unlike other sedatives, it enables you to wake up with a clear head. (Not that I ever have a very clear head!)

    Scullcap is longer-lasting and is a good herb to help to relax and sleep.

    Lemon Balm can help to relax and reduce physical tension and reduce physical stimulation. It's also supposed to work as a thyroid-blocker, so it can help with an overactive metabolism, but don't take it if your thyroid is low.

    I've linked to my favourite products - The products that I use for myself.
    merylg and andre79 like this.
  9. JAM

    JAM Jill

    I had a similar problem before starting, and at the onset of treatment. As a meditation instructor and yoga practitioner I would love to say they fixed that problem for me, but they didn't. High dose Vitamin C in IV form helped instantly. I swear I took the first full breath in my life a few minutes after the treatment started (and I had been teaching breath work for 5 years), but it was so expensive and only lasted 5 days so I had to quit after 10 treatments. Olive leaf extract has lessened all my symptoms, and after 6 months of treatment I am sleeping through the night restfully for the first time in years. It did take a full 6 months though. If you suspect a HHV-6 or EBV infection I highly recommend OLE.
    merylg and andre79 like this.
  10. andre79

    andre79 Senior Member

    Thank you all for your kind replies, is a very annoying symptom, isn't it? I miss going to the beach, drinking a cocktail and just lying there under the sun in total relaxation. Now i feel "jumpy" all the time. I have only tested cortisol in the morning and it was normal (a little bit low for my taste, but if it is within the range then is normal according to doctors) so i am not sure that is my problem. As @Martial said it is probably a sympathetic nervous system issue, my internist told me exactly the same.

    The insomnia has worsened since quitting cymbalta, maybe is a withdrawal syndrome? How long is supposed to last this withdrawal? I don't want to take it anymore.

    Anyway, i will give the meditation the first try before experimenting with supplements. I will let you know how it goes.

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